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  • Tim McGill

From Snow To 70s in Just Six Days

A Wintry Weather Feel

Some wintry weather today and tomorrow but a fairly fast recovery in temperatures is coming by early next week. Some spots south of the city may not get out of the 30s today. Lows tonight away from Chicago may fall into the upper 20s. A freeze warning begins at midnight and lasts until 9 am Wednesday. I haven't even mentioned the wet snow that will fall at times today and tomorrow. More on that below. That's the bad news. The good news is we start off next week in the 70s.

We have to first deal with February-like weather. Highs today will be around 20° below average. Average highs for today are around 61°. Look for highs here to top out in the upper 30s to near 40°.

Some Slushy Snow

The GFS model continues to suggest some wet, slushy snow here today with chances for more coming tonight and tomorrow. The model has been steadily shifting the heaviest snowfall axis to the south.

While snowfall amounts at O'Hare will probably be light, there is still a chance we could break the record for snowfall on this date. The record snowfall for April 20th is just .2". A mix of rain and snow is likely at times today and tonight and then some rain and snow showers should redevelop Wednesday afternoon. Beyond that we could see some light rain fall late Friday into Saturday at times. We also have some showers and thunderstorms possible by the middle of next week as temperatures bounce back well above average by then.

Snow in April should not surprise us. We average 1.2" of snow for the month of April. The last significant April snow here was just two years ago when 2.5" of snow fell at O'Hare on the 27th of the month. It was the latest accumulating snow we had seen here in more than 25 years.

The accumulated snowfall meteogram for O'Hare shows a range of snowfall for tonight and tomorrow from as little as a dusting to just over 2.5". Most of the models are in the half inch to just over an inch range though.

The GFS model has now moved the swath of heaviest snow a little further south of the city. Parts of downstate Illinois could see up to nearly five inches. The total snowfall here through Wednesday adds up to just under an inch for most of us with higher amounts south of the city and in our far northern suburbs. Accumulation will be mainly on grassy surfaces.

The NAM model is similar in its solution for this snow event with the main difference north of the city. It has lower amounts there compared to the GFS model.

The European model is squeezing out about an inch of snow for most areas with amounts tapering off well west of the city. When this wintry weather wraps up by late Wednesday night I think we will see about a half inch to nearly an inch of snow in total for most areas with higher amounts south of I-80.

From Freezing To 70s

The hourly temperature meteogram compares many different forecast models. It will feel more like February than April today but by Monday we bounce back into the lower 70s. The coldest part of this forecast is tonight with a freeze warning in effect. We could be just as cold or even a bit colder by Thursday morning. The start of next week will be much warmer with highs well above average by Monday.

Tonight we tumble into the upper 20s away from the city. The city won't be quite as cold with lows there in the lower 30s.

The temperature anomaly forecast for Wednesday morning compared to the forecast for next Tuesday afternoon shows the weather whiplash that is coming. Tomorrow morning's temperatures will be around 10° to 15° below average but by next Tuesday afternoon our temperatures will be around 15° to nearly 20° above average. That is about a 50° swing from upper 20s Wednesday morning to upper 70s by next Tuesday afternoon.

Cool Signal Not As Strong

The longer range temperature probability forecasts drop us from near normal temperatures to below average temperatures overall as we end April and start May. The latest 6-10 day forecast has us outlooked for about average temperatures overall from April 25th through April 29th. The 8-14 day temperature probability forecast has us favored slightly for below average temperatures overall from April 27th through May 3rd. Average highs in Chicago for late April into early May are in the lower to middle 60s.

The even longer range Subseasonal Experiment (SubX) temperature anomaly forecast is signaling a cooler than average pattern continuing into the middle of May. The temperature anomaly forecast for the week ending May 7th has us outlooked to be a around or a bit below average overall. The forecast for the following week ending on May 14th has Chicago below average overall. Average highs for this period are in the middle to upper 60s.

Moving Towards A Moist Pattern?

The long range precipitation probability forecasts suggest we may be moving into a more active pattern for the final part of this month and the start of the next. The latest 6-10 day forecast still has Chicago favored for above average precipitation from April 25th through April 29th. The longer range 8-14 day forecast has us outlooked for above average precipitation overall from April 27th through May 3rd too.

Here is my 7 day forecast:


Today: Cloudy, light rain and snow at times (minor accumulations) High: 39

Wednesday: Mostly cloudy, rain & snow showers (minor accumulations) Low: 30 High: 43

Thursday: Mostly sunny Low: 31 High: 56

Friday: Partly to mostly cloudy Low: 40 High: 60

Saturday: Mostly cloudy, scattered showers Low: 43 High: 57 (cooler lakeside)

Sunday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 40 High: 56 (cooler lakeside)

Monday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 42 High: 70



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